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  • To my knowledge, this is the only Macanese-style restaurant readily accessible in urban Shanghai. Macau Style (Chinese name Aomen Zhizao, or literally "Made in Macau") is a hidden gem of a restaurant, appropriated located on Aomen Rd. in Putuo District. While the restaurant carries a wide variety of Classic Cantonese dishes, as well as Hong Kong-style dim sum and roasted meats, I chose to focus on ordering specifically Macanese style dishes on my recent visit. I've ordered the dim sum and other Hong Kong-style dishes before, and they are good, but this review is exclusively focused on their Macau specialities. 

    We ordered steamed tripe, roasted meatball skewers, razor clams in garlic, a stir-fried green onion with squid and dried shrimp, curry fried rice, and braised chicken feet. Of these dishes, the only one that wasn't specifically listed as "Macau style" on the menu was the braised chicken feet (a.k.a. the classic dim sum dish "phoenix claw"). 

    Steamed tripe was overcooked and had lost its siganture chewy texture, but the sauce was nice. The razor clams were also underwhelming - large portion but lacked subtlety of flavor (they basically only tasted of garlic mince). They were also slightly over, causing the texture to go chewy.

    On the other hand, the roasted meatball skewers were meaty, chewy and delicious. The stir-fried green onion with shrimp and squid was the standout dish of the meal - a complex mixture of salty and savory that didn't overwhelm the fresh green vegetable flavor at the base of the dish. The curry fried rice was very tasty and satisfying - no surprising flavors but none needed. Finally, the braised chicken's feet were perfectly cooked, with savory soy-based juices running all over and perfect gooey/chewy texture like only chicken feet can. 

    We also had a pepper and pork bone broth soup, which was pretty good, but more for the vegetables than the actual pork pieces. 

    Altogether, damage was was 244 for two people to stuff themselves. Honestly I could have skipped the curry rice without missing it whatsoever, which would have brought the bill down closer to 200. Service was quick, the decor is pleasant, and the flavors were sufficiently different from Hong Kong or other Cantonese food to convince me that I was indeed sampling Macau flavors. Of course, I haven't been to Macau, so I can't comment on the authenticity at the end of the day, but if you're curious to try a new cuisine, Macau Style is a good choice. Just don't get the razor clams. 4/5. 

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  • After ordering Currify on Eleme approximiately once a week for the last 3 months, I finally managed to find the physical restauarant by total accident. It's not easy to find, hidden in a side courtyard on the Wuding Rd. food and drink street. Just look for the sign on the street just beyond the Goose Island bar and walk on in.

    The funny thing about how much I love Currify these days is how unimpressed I was by Currify x Taoker, which I first reviewed half a year ago. In fact, it was my wholly average experience at Currify x Taoker that kept me from trying Currify for so long. Fortunately I mended my ways, and oh how thankful I am that I did. 

    I think what makes Currify so good is that they only have a few curry dishes on the menu, so they can focus on doing them all well. The curries are all bursting with flavor, generous with their portion sizes, and give me very little to complain about. On our most recent visit when I snapped the photos that accompany this review, we tried the set meal for 2 on Dazhong Dianping, which came with the butter chicken, coconut fish curry, fried onion, roasted wings, and choice of two mocktails. Of all the items mentioned, everything was delicious except the fried onion chunks, which were very heavy, greasy, and tasted mostly of fried dough. The fried onion is the only miss I've ever had ordering food at Currify - esentially everything else is excellent. My most-ordered are probably the palak paneer, which is rich, smooth, creamy and filled with generous portions of paneer, as well as the lamb marsala. 

    Even with the unpleasant fried onion in the set meal on our last visit, it was still good value. Still, I don't think I'd order the set meal again. If dining in, you're better off mixing and matching a few curries, a few naans and a side dish, with the total cost probably ending up just about the same (about 180 CNY).

    I'm also not sure if it's worth it to dine in, versus ordering online. If you're within Eleme distance, you can usually get a curry with a naan for about 35-40 CNY after the various Eleme discounts are applied. 

    In a city where Indian restaurants regularly get away with charging 60-80 RMB for curries and 25 CNY for plain naan, Currify is an absolute value-for-money champion, and it tastes great too. 5/5. 

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  • Ah poke bowls...Instragam's favorite lunch. Also probably the restauranteur's favorite lunch, since this uber trendy poke bowl allows restaurant owners to charge 70+ CNY for a few bucks of artfully assembled colorful vegetables. Surely the profit margins would be absurd, but thankfully Shanghai rents are here to keep things grounded in reality. 

    With that intro, I surely tip my hand a bit heavily as to how I feel about poke bowls. But when it comes to food, I am nothing if not fair. An overpriced and trendy but generally delicious plate of food is still going to get a good review from me. Not 5 stars necessarily, but certainly at least 4. 

    If Poke Poke wants to get to the 4 star level, they're going to have to give it just a little bit more. Here's the breakdown:

    My sesame-crusted tuna bowl. Was very pretty. The tuna was dry and the only flavor present was sesame, which overpowered the flavor of the tuna and made it even drier. The spinach rice rice. I didn't detect any flavor of spinach. It's almost like the primary reason the rice was green to make it more photogenic...The pickled radish was tasty, the sauteed caulflower was flavorful, and the roasted sweet potato was slightly sweet and delicious. The roasted lemon slice and the pickled radish made me salivate, which helped get the tuna down. A disappointing way to spend 80 CNY. 

    My girlfriend's marinated salmon tartare bowl. Was slightly less pretty, but way more tasty. The chunks of salmon were very well seasoned and the whole grain mustard and pickled radish were good complements to the rice base of the dish. We ended up fighting over the good bits of her bowl and leaving behind a few bits of my bowl, because this one was tasty.  The only nitpick I have here is that some of the flavors in the bowl didn't seem to be intended to be taken all together - whole grain mustard on sweet potato was an odd flavor contrast for example. In the end though, a fairly acceptable way to spend 80 CNY. 

    Our deep fried zucchini slice appetizer. Ok it was flaky and light and well-seasoned and delicious. The breading seasoning was good, but I could still tasty the zucchini indicating perfect thickness on the breading layer. Good job Poke Poke. Now can you serve me something more interesting than ketchup to dip it in? 

    The drinks. Were light and refreshing and summery. Mine tasted like a cucumber mojito (sans rum). My girlfriend thought her ginger and lemon concoction was too sour, so I drank it all and I thought it was yummy, so she's objectively wrong. 


    The final verdict: I'm still not convinced on value for money, but I'm sure the menu has a few more legitimately tasty gems hidden among the blatant Instragram bait. I doubt I'll find myself craving it, but I'd probably go there occasionally if I worked nearby. Lunch for two was around 260 CNY, which is eehhhhh. 

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  • For that sudden, special time of the year when you have a sudden craving for spicy bullfrog, Jin Xiao Guan on Anyuan Road has you covered. A Dazhong Dianping hero, the interior design aesthetic is simple, clean, and covered with stuffed frogs. It begs you to take pictures and plaster them all over your Wechat moments. 

    The specialities are crayfish and bullfrog, with enough variations of each to keep you trying new dishes for a long time. 

    We grabbed a lineup of classics from the recommendation section and found little to complain about. The 泡椒牛蛙 (bullfrog in spicy chili oil) was flavorful, fragrant and appropraitely spicy, with the meat ample and tender. The salty egg yolk corn 蛋黄咸玉米was crunchy, savory, salty and thoroughly satisfying. The cold noodles 冷面 were served with peanut sauce, chili oil, cucumber shards and bean sprouts. They were slightly spicy, savory, fresh-testing and excellent (and a huge portion to boot). Finally, the shreds of spicy seasoned beef stomach with cilantro were flavorful, delightfully chewy, and sufficiently different from the rest of the spicy flavors in the meal to add interest. 

    The only lowlight of the meal was the blue gelatin dessert - it was pretty but essentially flavorless. I think it was supposed to taste of blueberries but I only tasted the raisins on top. 

    Overall damage was about 160 RMB and we were stufffffed. The cold noodle portion was about 2x what we expected...definitely could have dropped a dish or two. A real winner in the value for money category. 

    I'm not always in the mood for Sichuan-style bullfrog, but the next time I am, I know where I'm going. You should too. 5/5

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  • You hear mixed things about Bella Napoli. Some people swear by it as their go-to Italian spot, the place you can go to on a weeknight and get reliable staples on the reg. Others seem to think it’s bland, a rip-off, or both.

    After a recent visit, I’m pretty much right in the middle. The food itself is OK, some of it pretty good even. The rucola and prosciutto pizza, in particular, was a real winner – great crust, quality toppings. Our salad, with similar ingredients, was just fine, as was an under-seasoned sausage risotto. Fine, but not much better. Hard to be mad at, hard to get excited about.

    You can get better Italian than this, without going far – La Vite, which I’ve reviewed before, is a few blocks away, and offers more authentic-feeling and comforting food. You get the feeling they could do better if they wanted, but don't really need to anymore. 

    Where it gets extra points is the location, which is honestly great and a clue as to how the place still commands a lot of affection despite being one of the oldest Italians in town. Tucked away down an unassuming alley off Changle Lu that gives it just enough of a hidden vibe, it’s hard not to be won over the first time you hang right and wander into an open courtyard and restaurant that looks just like your favorite Italian spot back home. On a Thursday night at 8:30pm it was still busy with tables having a laidback meal and a bottle or two, the contented murmur of a lot of people having a low-stakes good time.

    It’s this space, not the food, that makes it worth stopping by. But that still means it’s worth a visit.


    Price: RMB 100 – RMB 200 per person

    Summary: Italian stalwart that matches a cozy location with decent if uninspiring food. Not the place to be blown away by great cooking, but maybe the place to impress a date that hasn’t been before, or just get a couple pizzas and bottles in with friends when you’re in the neighborhood.

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  • Seve is a gem of a restaurant tucked away along Hua Shan Lu, serving consistent homestyle Italian fare.

    Four hungry chaps caught up for a quick meeting over dinner, we were able to sit out on the street-side veranda of Seve this past Monday evening.

    The meal consisted of the following dishes:

    Italian Buffalo Mozzarella and cherry tomato salad, combined with giant Apulian black olives and asparagus, dressed with extra virgin olive oil.

    Crispy eggplant, topped with cherry tomatoes, San Daniele and Buffalo mozzarella.

    Octopus carpaccio served with sweet and sour vegetables, a lemon dressing and black pepper.

    Traditional home-made ravioli, filled with pumpkin.

    Pizza Formaggi, one of the better and consistent pizza’s I feel in town.

    A dessert plate for three, that had the following classical Italian sweets to finish off the meal, with a glass of complimentary limoncello Tiramisu, Semifreddo Zabaione, Pannacotta al Caramello.

    To accompany the meal, we had three bottles of wine, two Sicilian whites, and a Nero d’Avola, all these wines were of quality and at an affordable pricing structure.

    Could not expect any better family style Italian food, everything from atmosphere, warm and friendly service, from the greeting by Severino, the Patron who goes around the tables giving a personal touch to the restaurant, along with Cherry who served at table, who was proactive in recommending dishes, and clearing away plates when needed, not obtrusive in any way.

    The menu has a variety of options to choose from and changes with the season, no doubt you will find something of your taste, positive comments all round on the pumpkin ravioli in a white truffle sauce. Can highly recommend Seve for a casual night out, damages came to 576RMB per person.

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  • Even though in Shanghai there are around 5 restaurants per block average, it is yet hard to find healthy spots all over. Organic and healthy cuisine concepts are getting more and more developed in the last year but still is hard to see.

    On Xiangyang road you will find this little place -no more than 10 seats aprox- called Banana GG, a healthy and pet friendly place to go for a fit meal. If you go in the rush hour you might have to wait a bit because it’s gone popular. The staff is very friendly and the menu has salads, wraps, pokes, yogurt and more. You have all the proteins and veggies in different dishes presentations, which is a very smart decision.

    We went with our lovely dog and had the salmon salad, the falafel wrap, the chicken quesadilla and the granola with yogurt. As usual we order more than we should and we ate it all. The dishes are fresh, the portions are perfect (you won't feel hungry afterwards) and everything is very tasty. My fave is the granola and the size is pretty big! Prices are fair: 300 Rmb aprox for a big meal.

    The only thing I would change is the garnish salad in some dishes since it is the same one in all the menu, but other than that Banana GG is definitely a good spot when you want to take a healthy break.


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  • Was in the neighbourhood of the Portman Centre, the rolling TV screen of Beef & Liberty caught my eye, so I popped in at 14h30 which was well past the regular lunchtime trade of the various F&B outlets that surround the perimeter of the complex.

    Was greeted by the manager, as other employees appeared to be dining at the tables dotted around the outside edge of the restaurant, and taking their own late lunches.

    Didn't fancy a meaty burger (too hot today) so gave their new beetroot burger a go, which consisted of a brown rice and kidney bean patty, topped off with a slice of beetroot, and garnished with goat’s cheese and it's well worth it, the brioche-style bun, was moist and springy, a lot to thank the French for here, I opted for the Liberty Fries, over the side salad, the Liberty Fries are crisp, full of flavour.

    I also ordered the Scotch eggs, natty little Scotch eggs, the quail eggs were cooked to perfection, along with pork coating and breadcrumbs, no taste of stale oil at Beef & Liberty, the accompanying Wilkin & Sons Tomato Ketchup is a nice touch, slightly different style of ketchup.

    I have eaten at Beef & Liberty a number of times over the years and can honestly say you can't fault the place for its consistency.

    Damages for one 138RMB, and yes would recommend.

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  • Imagine if you asked an eight-year-old to design a mall. It would probably have a theater with a huge movie screen, VR arcades, a toy gun shooting range, slides and playgrounds, and maybe even a horseback riding track on the roof. That eight-year-old is probably hiding a secret life as a Chinese property tycoon because this mall actually exists in downtown Shanghai, and it’s called Greenland Being Funny Mall. I am not making this up.

    Located about halfway between old Xuhui and the West Bund, this mall boasts one of the best imax movie theaters in Shanghai. We went to catch the latest Avengers movie and afterwards decided to have dinner at Hokkaido Crab Premium Restaurants Okadaya. Apparently, this is a famous chain of crab restaurants in Japan and there are multiple locations across Shanghai.

    You cannot miss this place because there is a monster crab guarding the front door and you have to walk through its legs to get in. We went with the 998 rmb set menu which included wagyu beef rolls, sushi, appetizers, a cod dish, and culminated in a whole king crab to eat in a hot pot. There was also ice cream included for dessert. It was altogether way too much food, but the quality was good and the service was over the top good (the waiter grates wasabi tableside for your sushi).

    Given how expensive restaurants in Shanghai can be, I think this is a great deal, and I would go back again.

    Did I mention you can ride a horse on the roof of this mall?

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  • I’m pretty sure brunching is one of the top expat pastimes in Shanghai. The sheer amount of brunch deals can be overwhelming.

    I would judge brunch based on drinks, atmosphere and food. In most cases, you are lucky to get two out of three. Bull & Claw is the exception that does a great job across all metrics.

    Most free flow brunches are limited to some house wines and a standard beer. Bull & Claw’s includes those and a decent selection of cocktails and beers (even IPA’s).

    Located in an old villa, Bull & Claw has lots of outdoor space with large patios and on both the first and second floors along with a private party room on the third floor. Weekends are crowded with big groups, but with the high walls, it still feels like you are escaping the city.

    Lastly, the food is actually excellent on its own. The pancakes on the kids menu is basically every kids’ dream. They take two fairly typical pancakes and basically cover them in syrup, candy and ice cream. It is off the chains. 

    The brunch roast beef takes a traditional pub roast and elevates it by using wagyu chuck and goose fat roasted potatoes. It is a huge portion, but I left a spotless plate when I finished.

    Without drinks, you can have a good two course brunch for 168 rmb.





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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.

  • British

    Michael Russam, from Leeds, England, first arrived in China to live in Wuhan, before coming to Shanghai to work in copywriting and marketing. He is particularly interested in regional Asian cuisines, and when he can, travelling to find them. Other hobbies include debating the merits of Shanghai dive bars and burger deals.
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  • Taiwan Chinese

    These three things make make Eating Glace herself: being an insatiably inquisitive omnivore; being an apprentice kitchen elf; and doing heavy-duty recon on the Shanghai F&B scene. Join her as she eats her way through this sweet, savory, sour, spicy, bitter and umami city.
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  • Heatwolves has spent the last ten years exploring Shanghai as a writer, editor and DJ and is now a consultant and strategist for F&B, music, and art projects. You can find him on Instagram at @lovebanguniverse and leaping forward at InkSight Agency.
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